Apple is reportedly working on a 12.9-inch iPad Air, which could serve as a big-screen tablet alternative to the high-end and expensive iPad Pro.
According to Digitimes’ industry sources, this larger iPad Air (the current iPad Air 2022 has a 10.9-inch display) will stick with an LCD panel rather than go down the mini-LED route of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This makes sense to us, as opting for mini-LED could make this rumored iPad Air expensive to make, and thus rather pricey for consumers.
If this rumor bears fruit, then we could see a situation where there are two sizes of iPad Air in the near future, much as there are 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro options. It would also mirror Apple's approach to its MacBook line, with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro available in two display options.
All this seems logical, as the iPad Air has evolved from just being a slicker Apple tablet into a device that's compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and has the powerful M1 chip, effectively making it more or a professional-grade device without the iPad Pro price tag.
A breath of fresh iPad Air?
As I tend to prefer my tablets compact, being a big iPad mini fan, the idea of a 12.9-inch iPad Air doesn't scratch an itch for me. But it would seem a smart addition to the iPad range, given that the likes of the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 come in 13-inch guises, and use that extra screen space to be solid productivity machines when paired with keyboard covers.
Plus, a larger iPad Air would inject something new into the Air tablets beyond a specs refresh. I feel Apple is somewhat limited as to where it can take the iPad Air on the hardware side, as it’s got what I think is a near-perfect design for a tablet – an OLED display would be a nice addition, but that could then make the Air too pricey. So offering a new size is one way to give the Air a breath of fresh, well, air.
In terms of when to expect this larger iPad Air, some point in 2024 would seem likely. Apple hasn't refreshed the iPad Air for more than a year, and is currently using an older M1 chip rather than the latest M2 chip, so it’s arguably due a tweak or two. We had been expecting Apple to potentially launch new iPads this October, but as the month creeps towards its end, it’s looking unlikely that that's going to happen.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at TechRadar with a focus on phones and tablets, but a general interest in all things tech, especially things with a good story behind them. He can also be found writing about games, computers, and cars when the occasion arrives. And he also supports with the day-to-day running of TechRadar. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face and a nose for food markets.